tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 25, 2013 4:00am-5:00am EST
appreciate it so much. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. the "rachel maddow show" starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, ed. thank you, my friend. >> thank you. >> and thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. it is a weird paradox, in 21st century american politics. a lot more people call themselves conservatives than call themselves liberals. but liberal ideas are really widely popular. in fact, a lot of people who would never call themselves liberal are very much in favor of liberal policies. it's been true for a long time. but if you take a current example, take for example president obama's inaugural address this week. conservatives of course were outraged that it was such a liberal speech. liberals were delighted that it was such a liberal speech. and everybody agreed that it was such a profoundly liberal speech that the president gave for his second inaugural address. and it wasn't just liberal in the abstract. it was liberal in the specific, in the sense that he proposed and endorsed a whole bunch of liberal policy ideas.
like for example, his endorsement in the speech of marriage equality. it was a big moment in the speech, right? because no president had ever talked about gay people before, ever before in any inaugural address. it was also a landmark thing for this president, who did not publicly support same-sex marriage rights until well into his time being president. but there it was right in the inaugural address, calling for marriage equality. right there in the inaugural address. that is freaking liberal. also, that is the majority view held by most americans. the nbc/"wall street journal" poll that came out last month polled on same-sex marriage rights, a majority of americans support same-sex marriage rights. so it's liberal, but it's also what the majority believes. same thing on immigration. part of the reason everybody called the inaugural such a liberal speech is because the president had a big multisentence, full-throated endorsement of immigration reform. even if you came here illegally, there should be some path by which you should be able to seek citizenship to become legal, to be officially welcomed and brought into this country.
that is freaking liberal, right? it is also the majority view of most americans. nbc/"wall street journal" poll from this month, from january, finds that a majority of americans support giving illegal immigrants the ability to apply for legal status. it's a liberal idea. it's also what most americans believe. the other reason everybody thought the inaugural address was so capital l liberal, liberal, liberal was because of the president's shout out by name of medicare and social security, which in the beltway are horrible, embarrassing profligacies which are mostly good for counting who counts as a serious person in washington because you cannot be a serious person in washington according to the beltway unless you want to get rid of those programs or at least you see those programs as a problem that needs to be addressed. president obama in his inaugural not only name-checked medicare and social security in a positive way, defended them. he said he will support them and that they are good for the country. the only people other than a liberal like barack obama who
likes social security and medicare is everybody. really, it's only in washington where these are controversial programs. if you ask the country, the country's kind of in love with social security and medicare and thinks that they work and thinks that we should not cut them. broadly speaking, most americans do not call themselves liberals if you ask. but broadly speaking, most americans are in favor of liberal ideas. the marquee signifiers of liberal policy are broadly accepted as good ideas by most of the country. and that has been true for a long time. but the gears that you see clinking over each other, the gears that you see churning in democratic politics right now, the work that is being done in democratic politics right now, led by president obama at the start of his second term is this effort to turn what has been long-standing majority support for liberal policies into appreciation that those policies aren't just individual free-floating technocratically
good ideas that we agree on, those policies come from a worldview and a problem-solving approach that is in fact the governing philosophy of this country. we're a liberal country. we are not a center-right country the way the right always wants to tell us. we are a country where liberal policies are widely popular and, frankly, at the national level we express that right now by mostly voting for democrats. by a lot. that's the portrait of the country that the president was painting this week in his second inaugural, in tying this list of what get described as liberal policies to fundamental centrist, widely acknowledged, basically universal american values. >> we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness. today we continue a neverending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. for history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident they have never been self-executing. that while freedom is a gift from god it must be secured by his people here on earth. >> and then president obama goes on in the speech to list as examples of the ways that we must secure those american values now in our time, he lists the specific policies of equal pay for equal work and marriage equality and election reform and immigration reform and a policy response to help us reduce gun violence.
>> our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of detroit to the hills of appalachia to the quiet lanes of newtown know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm. that is our generation's task. to make these words, these rights, these values, of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every american. >> tying the policies which he is associated with and which are associated with his party and which are associated with a liberal idea of american governance to the basic fundamental ideas of what america is. that was the whole point, right? as with the other issues that president obama name-checked so specifically in his inaugural address this week, the things that got his speech branded as so liberal this week, what
president obama was alluding to there at the end by bringing up gun violence in his inaugural address is a set of policies that he and vice president biden have proposed for dealing with gun policies. and these policies get labeled liberal. but it turns out they are very popular. they are very, very, very widely popular. gallup just did a national poll on the whole list of proposal as that president obama and vice president biden have put forward on gun violence. bang high-capacity ammo clips. that gets majority support in this country. 54%. reinstating and strengthening the assault weapons ban we had for ten years that expired back in '04. majority support. look at that. 60% of the country wants that. making it so only the military and law enforcement can have so-called cop killer bullets, those armor-piercing bullets. 67% of the country supports that. and the numbers get higher from there. emergency response plans in schools. 69% support it. more cops. 70% support it. cracking down on straw purchases, right? where people buy a gun because they don't clear the background check but then they're really
buying it for somebody who won't clear the background check. 75% of people support cracking down on that. more training for responding to shooters and violent incidents in schools. 79% of people support that. more resources for mental health programs, especially for younger people, 82% of people support that. these are all of the things that have been proposed by president obama and vice president biden, right? and the crown jewel of what they're proposing? look at this. it's the most popular one of all. it's the centerpiece of their proposals. and it is the most popular thing of all. requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. not just for 60% of gun sales, which is what we have now in this country, but for all gun sales. 91% of the country supports that. and that is the centerpiece of what the obama administration is proposing for guns, for gun reform, background checks for everybody, 91% support. and that is that number that is consistent across polls. the big "new york times" national poll on this last month had it at 92%, not 91%. so you can split those hairs if you want.
but basically, it's kind of unanimous. the "washington post" did roughly the same polling. again, a national poll on these policies. but when the "washington post" did it, they broke it down by party, which ends up being really useful. look at the support for the stuff from republicans specifically. the only one that flips, that drops below majority support, the only one where republicans do not give it majority support even though the country as a whole does, is specifically the idea of banning assault rifles again. but still, that one's close. even among republicans, 45% of republicans think we ought to be banning assault weapons again. that's the only one that flips. all the rest of them still majority support even from republicans. banning high-capacity ammunition clips? republicans want to do that too by a big number. 59% of republicans. the big kahuna, background checks for everybody, even at gun shows, everywhere? republicans are hugely in favor of that. 89% of republicans want that. what president obama has proposed to do on gun reform is
very popular, even among republican voters. when you ask them about the things that the president's proposing, pretty much republicans think these things are good ideas, we ought to be doing them, they are in favor. and then the same "washington post" poll asked republicans, okay, broadly speaking, do you like what president obama is proposing on gun reform? and republicans said no, we hate it. after they said they support all the individual proposals, they said, well, do you like the guy who's proposing all these individual proposals that you liked? no, we hate those ideas. and that is insane. they like all the component parts of it. they like all these ideas. but then when these ideas that they like are proposed, they say they are against them because the person proposing them is president obama. that is insane. that is mindless. right? how do you make constructive policy in that kind of environment? people support the policy until they hear who else supports it and then they think they might be against it. how do you make policy like that? well, today the senator who got the assault weapons ban passed in 1994, which was also a time
that nobody said it could happen, that senator came forward again and said she would do it again this year. california senator dianne feinstein, who herself became mayor of san francisco because the serving mayor of san francisco at the time was shot to death, senator feinstein today at this press conference made her case. >> today my colleagues and i are introducing a bill to prohibit the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices that can accept more than ten rounds. we have tried to recognize legal hunting rights. we have tried to recognize legal defense rights. we have tried to recognize the right of a citizen to legally possess a weapon. no weapon is taken from anyone. the purpose is to dry up the supply of these weapons over
time. >> i've watched the slaughter of so many people and i've met with so many victims over the years. and in congress nobody wanted to touch the issue. and the last several years the massacres were going on more and more. and going through it, i kept saying, what's wrong with all of us? how many people have to be killed before we do something? >> i will never forget the sights and sounds of that day as parents emerged from that firehouse, learning that their 5 and 6-year-old children would not be coming home that night. >> the gun lobby has said over and over again in the last several weeks that this is just a feel-good piece of legislation. you know what?
they're right about that. it would feel really good if allison and charlotte and daniel and olivia and josephine and anna had gotten to enjoy christmas with their parents. you'd feel really good if dylan and madeline and catherine and chase and jesse and james took the bus to school this morning. you'd feel really good if grace and emily and jack and noah and caroline and jessica and avielle and ben were alive today. you'd feel really good if parents all across this country didn't have to wake up every morning worrying that without action that their kids were at risk just like those kids in newtown. >> senator chris murphy of connecticut, who before winning election to the senate in this past year he was the congressman who represented newtown. joining us now is not only connecticut senator chris murphy
but actually the entire senate delegation from the state of connecticut, senator murphy joined tonight by his colleague senator richard blumenthal, who you saw speak just before him. gentlemen, i really appreciate you both being here tonight. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> senator blumenthal, let me start with you. you said today that this is going to be a hard fight, that nobody should think this is going to be easy. given how hard you think this is going to be, what do you think is the best way to fight for it? >> the best way to fight for it is to recall those images that senator murphy and i recounted today. the images of parents emerging from that firehouse, the community grappling with that grief, the slaughter that is wracked upon america by these
assault weapons and the high-capacity magazines, and the need for banning them. and mobilizing and galvanizing support to overcome the nra and other entrenched interests, which no doubt, no question will fight them, make no mistake, there will be a fight. but as you said, the centerpiece really is a comprehensive program that has to include the background checks. i propose background checks on ammunition purchases as well as extended background checks on firearms purchases so as to cover that 40% of private sales and gun show sales that are not now covered and a comprehensive program of preventing gun
violence has support from the majority of americans. we need to make that support focused on washington, d.c. so our congressional representatives, whether in the senate or the house, cannot escape the brunt of that opinion. >> senator murphy, let me turn to you for a moment. you represented newtown as newtown's congressman. now as senator you represent the entire state of connecticut as their senator. connecticut is a small state, but it is a diverse state. it is both diverse in terms of urban and rural areas. it's diverse in terms of its population. and in terms of its political views. how do you talk to your constituents who feel very strongly about gun rights and very wary about gun control, that this isn't going to be something that's going to hurt their freedoms, it's going to help them and help their fellow citizens? >> listen, every decision you that make on legislation is a balancing act. and on this one the test is pretty clear. do you want to pass a law that's going to keep more 6 and 7-year-old kids alive in the future, or do you want to add some convenience to gun owners who want to reload a little bit less frequently or want to
pretend that they're soldiers by owning military-style assault weapons? when you pose that question to people in connecticut and frankly across this country as you've shown by the surveys you that talked about earlier, people side with the 6 and 7-year-olds every single time. and the fact is that that's true of non-gun owners and gun owners. i can't tell you the number of responsible gun owners in connecticut who have come up to me over the course of the last month and said let's get something done, i don't need these kind of weapons or those kind of cartridges in order to enjoy my sport. and i think we're going to find
that all across the country, that there's going to be a pretty impressive coalition that wants to get this done. >> senator blumenthal, when you just talked about honoring the experience of newtown, remembering those images, remembering what has created this political initiative, doing something about this at a time when i think people wouldn't have in advance noted we'd be doing a gun control agenda right now, what's the minimum to you in terms of policy that would honor the experience of newtown? what's your single highest priority, or what do you think is the least that we ought to do to responsibly respond to what happened? >> a ban on the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is very important. but background checks i think are common ground where everyone can come to the backgrou firearms purchases and i believe very, very strongly on ammunition sales right now. you can walk into a walmart, buy a shopping cart full of ammunition without any background check, without answering any questions. even if you're a convicted
felon, a fugitive, a domestic abuser, a dangerously mentally ill person. to make our neighborhoods safer we need those background checks. but also mental health initiatives. today i helped to introduce a measure providing, as it's called, first aid mental health assistance for the school boards and local officials. i think we need to emphasize mental health and school security. so it really has to be a combined and comprehensive strategy. there's no single solution. and i would just also say in response to your earlier question, the most important allies in this effort are the law enforcement community. and i say it as someone who served as attorney general of the state of connecticut for 20 years, as a federal prosecutor, united states attorney for 4 1/2
years. the guys who are most eloquent and most compelling on this subject are the ones on the front lines, in the trenches, who see that they're outgunned very often. they told me in newtown that they could not probably have stopped that shooter even wearing the body armor that they did because of the assault weapon that he was firing.
the police force in washington, d.c. is about 3,800 strong. on monday, though, they were closer to 6,000 of them. just for the day. now, the force was augmented on monday by more than 2,000 extra police officers who were flown in from 86 other jurisdictions around the country. in addition to them, 6,000 national guardsmen and women were deployed to d.c. just for monday. some of them were even sworn in as special police officers in washington just for this assignment. the security presence in d.c. for an inauguration these days is just massive.
police, with all those extra security personnel on hand on monday and with roughly a million somewhat ecstatic people crowding the streets for the inauguration, inevitably there were some arrests. specifically, there were three arrests in total the whole day. one person arrested for an outstanding warrant. one person arrested for public drinking. and one other person arrested
>> well, you know, i'll tell you, mr. chairman, when i first came to washington and testified i obviously was testifying as part of a group of people who came here to have their voices heard. and that is above all what this place is about. so i respect i think the woman who was voicing her concerns about that part of the world. and every one of you have traveled there. some of you were there recently. senator mccain, you were just there. you were in a refugee camp, and i know you heard this kind of thing. people measure what we do. and in a way that's a good exclamation point to my testimony. >> in 1971, before he was senator john kerry, navy lieutenant john kerry appeared before the senate foreign relations committee, the same committee he sat before today, to talk about the war he had just returned from, which was the vietnam war. john kerry famously protested against that war. and now the people who are protesting against the current war and maybe the future ones are protesting at his hearing, at his confirmation.
why is it that everything takes 60 votes now? i mean, it used to be 60 votes was a headline. if somebody forced 60 votes, that meant they were filibustering and that meant that they were taking an unusually strong stand against something. now it's 60 votes even for routine -- >> rachel, this has to change. it's wrong what they're doing because it's never happened before.
the republicans just this time have abused the system, and it's going to have to change. we're going to have to look at ways to change that because there should not be 60 votes in the senate. >> that was democratic senate majority leader harry reid during an interview with me in his home state of nevada in october 2010. this has to change, there should not be a 60-vote threshold in the senate. and then this was the headline tads in the "washington post." harry reid -- "i'm not personally at this stage ready to get rid of the 60-vote threshold." yeah. also this.
said it was time we change the rules in the senate and we didn't. they were right. the rest of us were wrong. or most of us anyway. what a shame. >> that was harry reid on the senate floor in may saying progressive senators tom udall and jeff merkley who were working to reform the filibuster they were right, he should have listened to their call to reform the senate rules, they wright and he was wrong not to listen to them.
they were right and this was today. "progressive senators working dramatically to alter senate rules were defeated thursday when senate majority leader harry reid and his counterpart republican leader mitch mcconnell set to announce a series of reforms on the senate floor that fall far short of their demands. one more? one more. >> we're going to change the rules. we cannot continue in this way. so i hope we can get something that that the republicans will work with us on but it won't be a handshake. we tried that last time. it didn't work. >> that was harry reid at the
senate in december saying any deal to reform the filibuster would not be a handshake deal. today a "handshake agreement" is how roll call newspaper described a number of the filibuster reforms that harry reid agreed to with mitch mcconnell. wow. harry reid. yeah. this was the day everybody had been wait forget in terms of changing how the senate
operates. and if you hear sad trombones, that's why. on election day this year americans voted overwhelmingly to re-elect president obama four more years. that same day people also voted to re-elect senate democrats and to send a large number of them to congress, more than the republicans. more senate democrats than republicans which put harry reid in charge of the senate for another two years. and the very next day after the election harry reid in his first post-election press conference said that he was going to fix the unprecedented problem we have in washington with how republicans have broken the united states senate through abusing the rules. >> it looks like there are going to be a number of -- many more filibusters on motions to proceed. do you think -- do you have any plans to change the filibuster? >> yes, i do. i've said so publicly, and i continue to feel that way. i think that the rules have been abused and that we're going to work to change them. >> first press conference, day
in the senate for lack of a better term that pretty much everything requires 60 votes to pass now. that has never been how things have worked in this country. i mean, constitutionally it takes a supermajority to impeach a president or ratify a treaty or amend the constitution but not to pass an ordinary bill. ordinary bill passage should
on this vote the yeas are 78, the nays are 16. the 60-vote threshold having been achieved, the resolution is agreed to. >> on this vote the yeas are 86 and the nays are 9. 2/3 of those voting for adoption have voted in the affirmative. and the resolution is agreed to. >> two votes tonight. two arguably missed opportunities to do something substantive about this. the fact that now for the first time in our history practically every bill that comes before the united states senate requires a supermajority of 60 votes in order to pass.
that did not get fixed today. it got changed. but it doesn't seem to have been fixed. joining us now is democratic senator sherrod brown of ohio. senator brown, thank you for being here. i appreciate your being willing to talk to us about this. >> sure. of course. >> am i wrong to think that there's not going to be a big change to what we've come to accept as normal, which is republicans requiring a 60-vote supermajority on everything in the senate? >> i think you were generally right. i think that there will be -- i mean, the steps -- we didn't do as much as many of us wanted to do. i think it's small progress. i think it will -- the senate will be -- will work a little better than it did. won't move we've sent the bill over and bills and some bills
that would move the country forward that have died there even though they could have a majority. so we are going to keep the pressure on in the senate. this time it was in writing if the progress isn't significant. working with a group of people that want to stop the president of the united states and they will find ways in the rules even with improvements. >> i think the disappointment from people who are congress watchers is that everybody thought that democratic senators were so fed up that when you got the chance to change it, you would pounce on it. do senators not mind this as much as you thought that we did? is. >> i think the votes weren't there. i'm not blaming my colleagues in particular, but there weren't enough to take the bigger steps
that some of us wanted to take. this is not to deflect what you wanted to say. if you listened to the inaugural address that you did. one of the things that i took out of that, we are going to see the president use his executive powers use his powers in a more aggressive way. we still would have had problems in the house and i'm not begging off the question, but i think you are going to see the president use the executive powers that are within his legal authority. i think the progressive agenda is going to be driven that way. i think it wouldn't have got ten through the house. ha is what i heard in the inaugural address.
that the president wants to move on climate change and voting rights and wants to move on gun safety. and i think he will figure things out. i think the white house is looking at those kinds of things. but, those kinds of things i'm hopeful the white house sees a path to move the country forward. >> do you think immigration and they can move in the senate? >> well, i think immigration can move on the senate. a number of these, we have a way sometimes of getting over the 60 votes or speeding up the process and the house still doesn't move on it.
i feel good about it getting through the senate. if it doesn't get through the house, the president is going to use the powers that he has. it isn't ever as good as the congress passing something, but it is going to be pretty hard and a lot of public pressure on boehner but i think the president is going to use the next four years. i think he is outpushing his agenda and he needs to go over the heads of the republicans in the senate and house to do it. i think this will be a pretty activist presidency more than it
ready for a good news story? >> the only reason anybody goes to congress is to be in congress. and to fight with people in congress so that people will give them more money so that they can stay in congress. but that dysfunction that we should see today shouldn't be seen as normal. back to 2000, still a lot of pointless showboating. we got a payoff. it was about apes. the chimpanzee act created for those chimps used in research. lots of bipartisan support. 41 republican are co sponsors. it passed and bill clinton signed it into law. it was a practical framework set in motion. and because they did that, today something else that wasn't pointless was able to happen in government. a panel issued recommendations on what america should do with the chimps that we should have in captivity.
all but 50 of the 350 chimpanzees that we have across the country. part of the reason we should set them free is because we can. we have in fact chimphaven in louisiana. we have the chimp act. the chimps will be kept for research purposes and housed in spacious conditions in groups of at least seven. if there is research done on the chimps who will remain for research there will be high bars for what it will reveal. you have to show there is potential for that research to be beneficial for that research. six out of every seven should be retired. now they have to make room for a big expansion. because here comes chimps. concerned advocacy about how concerned we are about these guys lead to legislation which led to law to something that needed a solution. this is the way that it needs to go. it sometimes seems impossible, but it worked, it worked for the